Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Joseph Dougherty, [on or before 25 April 1802]

From Joseph Dougherty

[on or before 25 Apr. 1802]


What I have to Communicate to you is More than I Can do when face to face so I beg lave to do it in this manner so as it may be Correct. In the first place Mary is requested by Mr. Lamaire to Count the Linens belonging to the House She Dont. wish to refuse it but she is not willing to do it on the Acount she knows the number will be far short of what it should be This circumstan should not gone so far without being prohibited. as for My part I knew there was pilferers in the House. it was kept from me as Much as possible. Last sumer when Mary was sick Betsy took a 5. D Bank note out of her pocket when she thought she was asleep. At the same time Mary was a weak heard her open a box and take it out. when Mary asked her for the note she Denied with an oath Said She know nothing of it. It was kept secret from me for a Long time. Christopher being My old fellow Servant would it not been looked. on as an hard circumstance to be the first in the House to hurt his Character at this time the Room occupyd. by Christr. is all times kept locked. what is in it I Cant tell there is no one goes into it but himself

I hope Sir you will not think that I by so doing Do wish to insinuate or gain any thing by it. No far be it from me. I only wish every one to have what is their own And not that honest people should be inocently apprehended

I would before this time have let you know of this but I thought Mr. Lamaire the only on to look after Such things but He is two easy a man for Betsy & Christr. The only request I ask of you Sir is that you will not Mention my name in this matter

There is someting as yet of more Importance that I Dont wish to Let you know untill I try to investigate the truth

Your Hble Servt.

Jos. Dougherty

RC (MHi); undated; endorsed by TJ as received 25 Apr. and so recorded in SJL.

Joseph Dougherty (ca. 1774–1832) was an Irish-born staff member in John Adams’s executive household who continued to serve as presidential coachman and head of stables throughout most of TJ’s two terms. In September 1801, he delivered from Philadelphia a coach special-ordered for the president. After leaving presidential employ, Dougherty maintained a friendly correspondence with TJ, writing him on animal husbandry, especially on breeding merino sheep. In 1810, he requested a loan to start a Washington-based ale and porter bottling company, which proved short lived. After TJ sold his personal book collection to the Library of Congress in 1815, Dougherty offered to superintend the wagon transport of books from Monticello to Washington (Lucia Stanton, “A Well-Ordered Household: Domestic Servants in Jefferson’s White House,” White House History, 17 [2006], 6, 12, 19, 23; MB description begins James A. Bear, Jr., and Lucia C. Stanton, eds., Jefferson’s Memorandum Books: Accounts, with Legal Records and Miscellany, 1767–1826, Princeton, 1997, The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Second Series description ends , 2:1036; RS description begins J. Jefferson Looney and others, eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson: Retirement Series, Princeton, 2004–, 6 vols. description ends , 1:3–4; 3:241–2; Vol. 33:426; Vol. 35:329, 757–9; Dougherty to TJ, 15 Feb. and 7 Apr. 1815).

Dougherty’s wife, MARY Murphy, was a member of the domestic staff of the President’s House as was BETSY Süverman, wife of presidential footman CHRISTOPHER (John Christoph) Süverman (Stanton, “A Well-Ordered Household,” 9, 12; Vol. 34:489n, 566n).

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